Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Liza May


LITTLE brown face full of smiles,
And a baby's guileless wiles,
Liza May, Liza May.
Eyes a-peeping thro' the fence
With an interest intense,
Liza May.
Ah, the gate is just ajar,
And the meadow is not far,
Liza May, Liza May.
And the road feels very sweet,
To your little toddling feet,
Liza May.
Ah, you roguish runaway,
What will toiling mother say,
Liza May, Liza May?
What care you who smile to greet
Everyone you chance to meet,
Liza May?
Soft the mill-race sings its song,
Just a little way along,
Liza May, Liza May.
But the song is full of guile,
Turn, ah turn, your steps the while,
Liza May.
You have caught the gleam and glow
Where the darkling waters flow,
Liza May, Liza May.
Flash of ripple, bend of bough,
Where are all the angels now?
Liza May.
Now a mother's eyes intense
Gazing o'er a shabby fence,
Liza May, Liza May.
Then a mother's anguished face
Peering all around the place,
Liza May.
Hear the agonizing call
For a mother's all in all,
Liza May, Liza May.
Hear a mother's maddened prayer
To the calm unanswering air,
Liza May.
What's become of — Liza May?
What has darkened all the day?
Liza May, Liza May.
Ask the waters dark and fleet,
If they know the smiling, sweet
Liza May.

Call her, call her as you will,
On the meadow, on the hill,
Liza May, Liza May.
Through the brush or beaten track
Echo only gives you back,
Liza May.
Ah, but you were loving — sweet,
On your little toddling feet,
Liza May, Liza May.
But through all the coming years,
Must a mother breathe with tears,
Liza May.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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